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Panthers 2021 season opener countdown: 32 days to go

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By: Bradley Smith

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

We’re counting down the days until the Panthers kick off the 2021 season.

We’re only 32 days away from the start of the Panthers’ 2021 season, and normally today’s article would be about the player wearing No. 32, but the Panthers released him yesterday, so today’s countdown piece will be dedicated to one of the team’s recent signings (who is currently wearing No. 40) — fullback Rod Smith.

The Panthers signed Smith (6-3, 225) as a free agent last week after releasing fullback Mason Stokke. The 29-year-old Smith was signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was released before the season began. He has spent the majority of his six-year career with the Cowboys (2015-2018), where he appeared in 48 games (two starts) and rushed for 359 yards and 5 touchdowns on 99 carries. Smith appeared in three games each with the Titans and Raiders in 2019, but did not record any stats for either team. In 2020 he was a member of the Giants’ practice squad but did not make any game appearances.

Smith is most likely a camp body at running back/fullback to lighten the workload for Christian McCaffrey, Reggie Bonnafon and Chuba Hubbard, but he could sneak onto the roster if he shows out on special teams during the preseason.

What do you think, Panthers fans? Does Smith have a chance to make the roster? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us!

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